Historic

A few minutes ago the price of gold reached a new high in relation to the U.S. dollar. Or, one could be equally accurate to say that the U.S. dollar reached a new low relative to gold. Click for a higher resolution version:

GoldHistory

In the mid to late 1990’s gold was selling for $300/ounce. I was making more money than I am now (contracting work for Microsoft with unlimited amounts of overtime allowed at 1.5X base rate) and bought a few ounces. But most of my money went into paying down the house mortgage and putting a new roof on it. And then half of that, which wasn’t very much to begin with, went to my ex-wife in the divorce. I wish I had bought more now. It would be worth a lot more than what the house appreciation was.

Gold surging is generally an indicator of troubling times which certainly describes 2020. But what is interesting now is that vaccine trials are looking pretty good and the economy is doing okay considering the circumstances. But yet, the price of gold continues to climb. I suspect the huge surge in the “printing” of money is a major contributor.

We live in interesting times. This year will be one for the history books.

The Last Centurion

On the recommendation of RandyGC I read (listened to via Audible) The Last Centurion.

RandyGC said:

Spooky on similarities to current events.

Uhhh.. Yeah!

The book was written in 2008. In the book a virus jumps from birds in China to humans and engulfs the world in a pandemic. The story takes place in 2019 and extends into 2020. There’s even a parallel to CHAZ.

The story has a woman president who sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton, so he had a miss on that point. But, hey, over eight years later the pollsters the day before the election missed on that one too so I give him a big break on it.

There is a fair amount of farm stuff in the story. It takes place in Minnesota instead of Idaho but it’s spot on as near as this Idaho farm boy can tell.

There is a lot of military action in the book. I can’t speak authoritatively to the military aspects but it seemed authentic as I would expect of the author. John Ringo is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne so my bet is that is spot on as well.

It is a great book. Ignore the one star reviews from the libs on Amazon. Or maybe, take those as ringing endorsements.

White people must wear masks

Via daughter Kim:

Oregon county issues face mask order that exempts non-white people

Lincoln County, Oregon, has exempted non-white people from a new order requiring that face coverings be worn in public.

That was on June 16th.

Yesterday they revised the order:

Facing a torrent of “racist commentary,” Oregon’s Lincoln County has amended its exemption of non-white people from a new order that requires face coverings to be worn in public, according to a report.

How could they imagine such an order would pass a legal challenge? What if it had been that only women must cover their faces? Or only black people? Haven’t these people heard of equal rights?

Or is it they think of Animal Farm as a guidebook rather than a dystopian novel where some people are more equal than others?

We live in interesting times.

USPSA Area 1 Championship postponed

I received an email last night regarding the USPSA Area 1 Championship:

2020 Berrys Bullets Area 1 Championship
It is with much regret that we are forced to delay Area 1. Many efforts were made to continue as planned, however current governing COVID protocols prohibit us from moving forward as planned. We are working diligently to postpone with the hope to continue the last week of August. We will confirm dates as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Refunds for withdrawals will be extended until 30 days prior to match start date, which we hope for a start date of August 26th. We will keep everyone posted on any updates as they become available. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time and everyone on the Area 1 team look forward to seeing everyone in the near future.

Kind regards,
Tessina Hurley
Match Director
2020 Berry’s Area 1 Championship

I’m not surprised. Barb and were talking a couple hours before I got the email, “How are they going to do that with the current restrictions? How do they know the restrictions will be lifted so they can hold the event?”

Hurley and her staff were probably asking themselves similar questions yesterday.

I”m fine with that. It gives me more time to practice and get back to something approaching my normal skill level.

Rounds in the last month

I haven’t done any reloading since February. I was working very long hours and finally got that project done earlier this month. And with the COVID-19 thing I didn’t really want to go to the range anyway, so why spend the time reloading ammo I wasn’t going to shoot for a while? When I received the email saying the Area 1 Championship, which I had signed up for last year, was still on I decided it was time to start practicing and reloading.

Today I started reloading some 200 grain bullets in .40 S&W. I only completed round 104 when the indexer return spring broke on my Dillon XL650 press. It sort of looked like I should consider it a consumable and I ordered five of them. At $1.99 (plus $8.49 shipping) I decided to order five so I could quickly replace it when the next one dies.

After ordering I thought about it some more and realized I had never lubricated the spring. If I had it might have lasted longer (I had only reloaded 21,584 rounds when it died).

No matter. I’ll have spares and maybe they will last longer too.

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223: 7592 rounds.
30.06: 756 rounds.
300 WIN: 2,126 rounds.
300 Savage: 50 rounds.
40 S&W: 109,877 rounds.
45 ACP: 2,007 rounds.
9 mm: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 144,049 rounds

We went for a drive

Barb and I have been on the more cautious side of the behavior spectrum in regards to avoiding risk of COVID-19. We have been going on almost daily walks but haven’t gone on any hikes in the woods and mountains like we usually would have by now. Last weekend we decided we would go for a drive and at least visit the mountains and enjoy the view of them from my car.

I found a place that looked like it had good views and we had never been. It’s the parking lot for the Alpental ski area:

BingMaps

It’s about a 45 minute drive from our place and I figured we could get out and walk around the parking lot some without having to worry about the whole social distancing thing on narrow trails. I expected something similar to what you see in the picture above.

We were surprised to find the parking lot almost completely full of cars with lots of people. Apparently my idea and choice of locations was not all that novel.

We managed to find a parking spot and took some pictures. There wasn’t much walking though. The weather and views were great so we accomplished our mission to get out of the house and do something a little special for our current circumstances and more like the normal we are looking forward to.

Continue reading

I’m here to make a deposit

A couple days ago I had a check to deposit. With Tamara’s words from 11 days earlier still fresh in my mind I put on my white hat to indicate I was one of the good guys:

20200527_141412

I’m not sure it helped that much. But they did let me in the bank when the ATM didn’t want to allow the deposit so I couldn’t have been all that scary.

Quote of the day—Tribune Content Agency

The decline occurred despite a spike in gun sales that month.

The number of mass shooting incidents, killings and firearm injuries all dropped as states and cities took aggressive measures to contain the virus.

Tribune Content Agency
May 10, 2020
Mass shootings in US plunge during pandemic closures
[It was only six weeks earlier the anti-gun rights groups were “concerned” about the spike in gun sales:

Gun control advocates are concerned about a large number of new owners lacking the usual access to training on how to store and handle their weapon properly.

In fact, they wanted gun stores and ranges completely closed during this pandemic*.

So, once again, their “concerns” and/or predictions have been found to be not only false, but 180 degrees out of phase with reality. One could claim they are delusional. But, the truth is, they just lie all the time. It’s part of their culture.—Joe]


* Actually for all time, but they don’t usually admit to that.

Antibody tests

Last week Barb, her daughter Maddy, and I all had blood drawn for testing of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

All results came back negative. We were pretty certain Barb and I would be negative. But Maddy was working in Brooklyn, New York until late March and told us horror stories of how tight people were packed on the subways. So, when she came home she was in quarantine for a while. But we thought maybe she picked it up without symptoms. Nope.

This is a little odd

I was in Idaho last weekend to do some Boomershoot stuff. No Boomershoot this year but there were various maintenance items to be taken care of.

I spent some time in Orofino and as I was driving into town I noticed a long line of stationary railroad tanker cars. I did my business in town and then stopped to look at the cars on my way out.

20200502_103105

With the huge drop in demand for oil products, I suspected they were full of oil because the oil producers were running out of storage space. I’m nearly certain that hypothesis was incorrect. As near as I could tell the tanks were empty. The cars had been stationary for a while too. Notice the rust on the wheel:

20200502_103226

According to the odometer on my vehicle the line of cars was about 1.1 miles long. And part of that line was double wide.

A couple days later I drove through Lenore. There I found another line of tanker cars.

This gave me visions of Atlas Shrugged as I thought of the economy grinding to a halt.

Quote of the day—Robert Higgs and Donald J. Boudreaux

Nothing is so permanent in government as a temporary agency or an emergency bill. Crises bring into operation new government activities and new scales of spending, taxing, and regulating; they were not intended to be permanent, yet became so by virtue of entrenched special interests and bureaucrats, often backed by congressional sponsors. Act in haste, repent at leisure.

Robert Higgs and Donald J. Boudreaux
May 5, 2020
Past Crises Have Ratcheted Up Leviathan–The COVID-19 Pandemic Will Too
[Politicians never let a crisis go to waste.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Rob Pincus

Not wearing a mask solely because the GOV says you should makes people look like petulant children and reinforces the idea (that many people have) that we NEED restrictions in place. Anyone preaching to not wear masks today that was advocating/defending masks at 2A Rallies a few months ago is revealing themselves as a contrarian, not an activist or objective advocate.

Rob Pincus
Facebook post on April 22, 2020
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Wayne A. Bush

What bothers me the most about finger-lickers isn’t the fact that they’re possibly spreading an untold plethora of illnesses or disease to the rest of us. I think what bothers me the most is the absolute display of rudeness and inconsideration for others. It’s just one more sign that our society is becoming increasingly ill-mannered.

Finger-lickers actually present a real threat. According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 2008-2011, flu deaths in the U.S. averaged 53,435 per year. In contrast, during those same years, an average of 30,736 people died by firearms (19,029 of which were suicides and 245 “other”).

Since, over a period of four years, 22,699 more people died of the flu rather than guns, maybe it’s time that the federal government act to criminalize finger-licking? After all, if it saves just one life, don’t we have an obligation to try?

Wayne A. Bush
February 21, 2013
Finger Licking … Bad
[He’s got a point. This is particularly true with the higher death rate for COVID-19 infections.

But he is buying into the assumption that gun control is about reducing criminal and accidental deaths and injuries. A review of firearm law and results show such laws don’t make the general population safer.

Also, people get really weird in their thinking about contagious diseases. For example, there have been studies on how people would react to learning they unintentionally infected another person with an easily treated sexually transmitted disease versus unintentionally infecting someone with a flu and the other person died as a result. People are far more concerned/embarrassed/ashamed/whatever about the easily treated sexually transmitted disease than killing someone with the flu.

Criminalizing finger licking versus criminalizing gun ownership? I know what the choice of 90% of the population would be if they were required to chose one or the other.*—Joe]


* My choice would be to spit in the face of the person demanding I must chose one or the other. Then, I would shoot them.

Social distancing

The title claims “Ultimate in Old School Social Distancing”. While carrying a rifle down the sidewalk with an extended bayonet would grant you greater social distancing for a few minutes I expect the distance would be considerably shortened by the end of your walk as the police stopped by to have a chat with you.

Also, I expect an experienced Boomershooter could maintain something much closer to “ultimate” distancing than someone using a bayonet to keep the distance.

Quote of the day—Hannah Furfaro

People will remain at risk until most are immune to the virus either through vaccination or extensive community spread, said Yonatan Grad, assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Without a vaccine, the end of the pandemic here could go like this: aggressive social distancing will help flatten the number of infected at any given time, but to prevent a serious reemergence, widespread testing is needed to detect those who have the virus, and those who are immune. Government officials will need to get serious about tracing who has come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, Grad said. Once the virus is under control, he added, officials should attempt to keep infected people elsewhere from bringing the coronavirus back to Washington.

Hannah Furfaro
April 8, 2020
Coronavirus has closed Washington’s schools, at least through summer. When will it be safe to return?
[There are predictions the peak in resource use and daily deaths will in less than a week. But that assumes “full social distancing through May 2020”.

I don’t see May being a time we can return to normal. “Normal” will not return until there is a vaccine or herd immunity. Even then, because of our prolonged work from home and social distancing we will have made drastic changes in our society. I expect many companies will shed major portions of their office space. I expect schools will have made significant migration to online teaching.

I see some of this as a very good thing. For many jobs the office space and commuting in a era of high speed digital communications is a waste of resources. Imagine the time, fuel, construction materials, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, water, sewer, trash, and transportation bandwidth saved without there being “the office” to go to.

There will be a component of individual responsibility take place that I see as good as well. The need to be “in the city” will dramatically decrease. This will change the demographics and the politics of the nation and the world.

I see the loss of a major portion of the restaurants and small shops in our future. Large retailers will survive only because of their online sales. If something can be sold online and delivered in a small vehicles by one person who drops a package at your door there will be very few local shops which carry it. Items which need special handling such as perishable foods will be the partial exceptions.

We live in interesting times.—Joe]

Quote of the day—bitterb @bitterb

It seems that “Holy Shit March” is a phrase we can just use for everything in life at this point.

bitterb @bitterb
Tweeted on April 2, 2020
[This was in response to this tweet by Tamara K. @TamSlick which I was seriously considering for a QOTD in it’s own right until bitter topped it:

Almost four million NICS checks in March. That’s a lotta guns.

It’s interesting to see the normalcy bias in action. Six months ago I, in my rational mind, knew something like this was possible but it didn’t feel possible in any reality I might experience. Today, working from home, seldom going to stores, wearing a mask when you do, and wiping down everything that has had recent contact with another human before it comes in the house feels ordinary.—Joe]

The range is open

I haven’t been to the range in several weeks now. And probably won’t for a while still. But the range I go to most frequently (Bellevue) sent out an email a few minutes ago:

Why is Our Range Open?
We have many clients who work in law enforcement or in the private security sector. These individuals must maintain
firearms proficiency for their personal safety and to meet professional certification requirements. We have other clients who don’t fall into the above categories but have personal circumstances which make firearms proficiency a priority for them.
 
Additionally, many families perceive an increased need for all members to have familiarity with defensive firearms. It is especially important that these new or less experienced shooters have the opportunity to learn and practice safe firearms handling skills in a controlled environment.
 
Federal guidelines recognize the above issues and have designated firearms retailers and ranges as essential critical infrastructure.
 
Our opinion is that each individual should have the opportunity to make an assessment of their personal risk factors and act according to that assessment.
 
What are we doing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission?

Traveling alone in your vehicle does not increase your risk or the risk to anyone else. The risk of COVID-19 transmission is increased most significantly by close interpersonal contact.
 
Upon arrival, clients are asked to maintain 6’ or more of distance while waiting to approach the check-in-counter one client at a time (unless in a group of two who already share close social distancing.)
 
Clients are assigned shooting lanes one person per booth. (The only exception is that two family members who already share close social distancing may share a booth.)
 
Once on the range shooters are separated from each other by over six feet of space and two partitions (we leave an empty booth between each shooter.)
 
The ventilation system on the range provides constant air flow away from the shooters.
 
Upon exiting the range all clients are directed to wash their hands in the bathrooms located in the range lobby.
 
All surfaces that people contact are cleaned multiple times during each day.
 
Going to a shooting range is not the best choice for all persons at this particular time. It is however an essential activity for some people and an activity which can be engaged in without significant risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The range will be open Thursday through Sunday,
10am to 8pm until further notice.

Quote of the day—Stephen P. Halbrook

Americans should be mindful of the dangers of “emergency” decrees. History tells us that government diktats in response to man-made and natural disasters often lead to unprecedented restrictions on individual liberty that last long after the disasters are forgotten.

Stephen P. Halbrook
March 31. 2020
Will the Second Amendment Survive Coronavirus?
[I strongly agree.—Joe]